Detroit show stoppers

So, the first big motor show of 2017 has taken place. In the cold of Detroit. But the weather won’t stop the thirst for new cars on display at the Detroit Motor Show.

Preparations for my own venture into the cold – my arctic trek – meant I didn’t make it to Detroit, but now I’m back in the warmth of the Fleet Alliance HQ, I’ve picked out my favourites. What do you think of these?


Audi Q8

Audi Q8

Just when you thought Audi had every market sector covered, they come up with a surprise. At Detroit, the surprise was that the Audi Q7 SUV is no longer big enough to be their largest off-roader.

Instead, Audi revealed this Q8 as a concept. Basically a sportier Q7, the Q8 roughly shares the same footprint, but has the largest type of Audi’s family grille, plus a lower, sportier roofline and tapered rear end.

The Q8 concept might be the biggest Audi SUV, but the concept does make one green concession, in the form of a petrol hybrid drivetrain that I understand could make production.  If the Audi’s bold exterior isn’t tempting enough, inside there’s the biggest version of Audi’s clever Virtual Cockpit at 12.3 inches.


Kia Stinger

Kia Stinger

Kia’s move to being more premium I think gathered pace at the Detroit Motorshow with the launch of the Audi-chasing Stinger.

Billed as a Gran Turismo, I think the Stinger is going to be a game changer, because it looks like no other Kia on the market, packs a rear-drive, twin-turbocharged 365bhp punch and is expected to be the most expensive car from the Korean manufacturer ever with the list price topping £40,000 when it goes on sale later in the summer.

I think it will change brand perceptions, but what do you make of Kia’s premium hatch with its sports coupe styling?


Lexus LS

Lexus LS500

Wow, still want that BMW 7-Series or Mercedes S-Class after seeing the latest range-topping Lexus LS that i debuted in Detroit? Like it or loathe it, Lexus’s new design language means you won’t miss that spindle grille, which reportedly has over 5,000 surfaces (I haven’t counted, I’ll take their word for it).

It is not just the grille that’s interesting design-wise, many of the details of the concept that have made it to production, include the angular front end, which contrasts well with the swooping side profile and broad shoulders. Built on a longer, new platform, Lexus is reporting that the new LS is 90kg lighter and stiffer – hopefully resulting in a keener drive.

No performance car, but the 409bhp and 600Nm of torque in the turbocharged LS 500 should make the drive more interesting when the road opens up.

Finally, there’s the tech-heavy cabin with features such as 28-way adjustable seats with cooling, heating and massage functions – this should be enough to make me never want to get out! In fact, sounds like the perfect car for me after my arctic trek…


Mercedes-Benz GLA

Mercedes GLA

Detroit was the time for Mercedes’ BMW X1 rival to get its mid-life makeover. One thing is for certain: the new bumpers and wheels give the GLA a welcome, more rugged look.

The GLA’s new look continues into the interior, with revised seat upholstery options, chrome trim parts, control panel switches and redesigned instruments.

Specifications as you’d expect have also been upgraded, with all models getting keyless go and Apple CarPlay.


Toyota FVC Plus

Toyota FCV Plus

I know this wasn’t new at Detroit – it’s been seen before at Tokyo and Paris – but I do like the FCV Plus concept from Toyota, along with its futuristic design.

The car uses compressed hydrogen from a variety of sources to not only power the car but provide energy for the driver’s house when the car is not in use, or potentially add electricity to the grid. It’s a clever idea – and we know Toyota is serious about hydrogen after the launch of the Mirai hydrogen car on the market last year. The car measures just 3800mm in length, so it’s slightly smaller than a Yaris.


Volkswagen I.D. Buzz

Volkswagen Detroit

First came the new Volkswagen Beetle and now 16 years after modernising it, Volkswagen is back re-working another of its iconic models – the Type 2 microbus.

Called the I.D. Buzz, all the retro design cues are there, with the two-tone paint job, flat nose and the large Volkswagen badge.

But, despite the retro bodywork, the drivetrain underneath is state-of-the-art electric. As the I.D. Buzz, is the latest member of Volkswagen’s I.D electric range – first revealed in Golf-sized I.D Concept hatch form back in Paris last year.

Like the advanced drivetrain, the interior of the I.D. Buzz is equally forward looking, with room for eight in the flexible lounge-style cabin. And it’s ideal for business: switch the I.D.Buzz into autonomous mode, swivel the driver’s seat throrugh 180 degrees, and conduct a business meeting on the move!


Ford GT

Ford GT

And finally, from new age retro to retro’s new age and the achingly lovely Ford GT, the road-going version of the Le Mans sports car. This is an all-American supercar with a whomping 647hp thanks to a twin turbo V6 and a top speed of 216mph – the fastest Ford ever. Do I want one? Heck, do I!